The ProLife Team Podcast 74 | Lucy Smith & Jacob Barr | The Story Behind Pro-Love Tucson

The ProLife Team Podcast
The ProLife Team Podcast 74 | Lucy Smith & Jacob Barr | The Story Behind Pro-Love Tucson
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Listen to Lucy Smith and Jacob Barr talk about the stories that led to the formation of Pro-Love Tucson. Listen to stories that reflect a posture of love – reflecting God’s mercy and grace in a kind way – inviting people to take courage and be stirred toward better life decisions.

Summary

This is Jacob Barr, and I recently had the opportunity to speak with Lucy Smith, director of Pro Love Tucson and Co-leader of Embrace Grace Tucson, on the Pro-Life Teen Podcast. Our conversation delved into the intricacies of sidewalk advocacy, the role of faith in supporting those facing unplanned pregnancies, and the impact of compassionate outreach.

Lucy shared her journey from working with women and children in Mexico to engaging in cross-cultural ministry on Native American reservations. Her experiences have deeply influenced her approach to pro-life advocacy. She highlighted how Pro Love Tucson, under her leadership, has been actively involved in sidewalk advocacy, focusing on reaching out to women and men in crisis situations and guiding them towards life-affirming choices.

During our discussion, Lucy emphasized the importance of pastoral support and how spiritual guidance plays a crucial role in their outreach efforts. She also touched upon the strategic and thoughtful approach Pro Love Tucson adopts, such as using various types of gift bags tailored to different scenarios to effectively communicate with individuals seeking abortion services. Lucy mentioned the importance of praying over each bag, ensuring that their outreach is deeply rooted in faith and compassion.

Addressing the complex dynamics of sidewalk counseling, Lucy spoke about the challenges they face, including confrontations with pro-choice individuals and how they maintain a non-confrontational, loving stance in all interactions. She reinforced the value of education and awareness, especially in states with fluctuating abortion laws, and the need for unified efforts across different pro-life groups and pregnancy centers.

Lucy concluded our conversation with a powerful prayer, inviting listeners to join in seeking divine guidance and support for their ministry and the broader pro-life movement. This prayer encapsulated the essence of their mission – to offer hope, support, and love to those facing challenging decisions regarding pregnancy.

Reflecting on our conversation, the following hashtags resonate with the contents of our discussion: #ProLifeAdvocacy, #SidewalkCounseling, #FaithInAction, #CompassionateOutreach, #UnplannedPregnancySupport, #ProLoveTucson, #EmbraceGrace, #SpiritualGuidance, #LoveAndCompassion, #LifeAffirmingChoices.

Transcript

The transcript was automatically generated and may contain errors.

Lucy Smith :

Welcome to the pro-life Teen Podcast. I’m Lucy Smith, director of Pro Love Tucson and Co leader of Embrace Grace Tucson. And we have a dynamic conversation about sidewalk advocacy coming alongside those in an unplanned, unexpected pregnancy, using the Grayskill approach to speak life and hope into women and couples and that are in those situations, as well as just speaking to those that come across our path when we’re outside of abortion facilities, at pregnancy help centers or walking alongside single pregnant women. These podcasts are not scripted. The ideas presented may not be the official position of the speakers or sponsors. These podcasts are freeform dialogues that may include brainstorming and trying on ideas to see how they fit. Please walk with us as we share stories and ideas. Great well, thank you, Jacob, for welcoming me. I’m Lucy Smith and I’m the director of Pro Love Tucson we’re a grassroots sidewalk advocacy ministry and we just have recently begun embrace grace groups here in Tucson. So I’m a Co leading those embrace grace groups support groups for single and pregnant women.

Jacob Barr :

Awesome so how can you tell us the story of how you came? Yeah, to where you are now, what? You know, working on the sidewalk with pro love. Like what’s the back story for you? For you to, you know, how have you gotten to where you are now all?

Lucy Smith :

Right. Well, I’ve always had a heart for women and children we have one daughter. Got to call my husband Dennis and I to the mission field 20 years ago and he first called us to Mexico. We incorporated as a 5O1C3 as Manos Dendios, hands of God and ministered a lot to women and children there in the barrios of Mexico as well as in the prison in Mexico a couple different prisons did women’s ministry there saw a lot of darkness but also saw God really work and do a lot of healing? Then God called us back to the United States and took us to the reservation up in Northern Arizona, always having a hard for, kind of cross cultural type of ministry. We were dorm parents for a Native American mission school, dorm parents with 11 middle school Apache girls not about. My husband says that’s how he got all his Gray hair and we walked alongside them and learned a lot about Native Americans and the darkness there on the reservations, but also saw God again healing and working and worked not only with our girls but also their moms on the White Mountain Ahatchee Reservation. God called us back to Tucson. My dad needed some help. A lot of us are in that stage where parents are needing help and when we came back, our girls banged us to help them get off the reservation and go to high school in a different place. So we brought 5 girls with us and some of them lived with us some of them lived with host families, loved on them we called them our foster daughters we had guardianship of them. They attended a Christian School here in Tucson. They have now, since graduated, continue to walk alongside a couple of them in an unexpected pregnancy. So used what we had learned in the pro-life movement and while we were there, up there in the White Mountains, I actually volunteered work for Living Hope Centers, which you know well from. I know you just had Brandon on your podcast recently his mom Dinah started that ministry and I worked at the One Crisis pregnancy center on a reservation in the United States which is Living Hope Center in White River, Arizona. And learn the pro-life ministry there from the Native American director Naomi she and I are still very close and from Dinah just learning how to minister to especially women that have come from a shame background. And so brought that with me when we moved back to Tucson to care for my dad bringing these girls with us and said OK God what next And that’s when God LED us to the sidewalk. There was already pro Love Tucson. A young lady named Carrie had started that ministry and was outside of the one abortion facility in Tucson. I joined her and soon after she needed to leave the ministry and passed on the leadership to us. And we took it under our existing 5O1C3 ministry, which was great we’ve got our board of directors, we’ve got our pastors that cover us spiritually and continued to reach out to those specifically in unexpected pregnancies and women and men in difficult situations and encouraging them to choose light, choose God’s walk and path his righteousness. So it’s kind of the long story, but it’s kind of a cool, cool way that God took us so we just say God took us to Mexico, God took us to the reservation, and now he’s taking us to the sidewalk.

Jacob Barr :

Wow, that is what a what a story like that, you guys you’re so much richness in how you came to where you are and just so many just amazing stories that we could dive into any one of those, probably for a long period. I want to ask you, how do the, you know, in what ways or how did the pastures cover, does the sidewalk work spiritually in what ways are you experiencing that coverage or have you seen like how are pastors? You know, Yeah how are pastors helping you be covered spiritually?

Lucy Smith :

Great we do have some churches that support us financially and pray for us. And then a couple of the pastors are actually not on board but advisors. So they are covering us spiritually and we’re under the covering of those churches because they support us financially and prayerfully. And then we have asked pastors to speak out from the pulpit about this issue on life and abortion in our country and some of those pastors have been willing to do that. We’ve spoken there at their churches we’ve set up a table inviting people from their church to come alongside us, either volunteering on the sidewalk or now with Embrace Grace, starting an Embrace Grace group there. We do have one pastor that’s willing to come to the sidewalk regularly we’ve had others come and visit, and that’s always an open invitation for us, is for a pastor to come and shadow us on the sidewalk and most pastors, when I meet them, I ask, have you ever been outside of an abortion facility and most of them say no and I said, you need to come. It’s the one place in our town that you know that innocent lives are going to be taken that day. And just come and watch and observe and see people going in, people coming out, feel the spiritual battle there. And Pastor Scott from the Oasis Church does come and volunteer he’s part of our team he’s been trained up with us and he has an amazing testimony story actually it’s running on our YouTube page right now of a young man named Danny who he met there on the sidewalk and his girlfriend was inside considering an abortion and Danny came out and Pastor Scott engaged with him as we men can. Just like we’ve invited you, Jacob, to come with us to the sidewalk men can relate to men in a different way than women relating to men and I love that you know, he’s just kind of like, hey, what’s going on, you know? And then he just told him, you know, what you need to do. And he did danny knew what to do and he texted his girlfriend, she said later that she was just waiting for Danny to say get out of there. And as she did, she ran out and Pastor Scott walked them over to the pregnancy Health Center that’s right around the corner, hands a hug and got a free ultrasound and they chose life and now Danny is speaking up, especially to dads, to men to speak up to their girlfriends and say, I’m going to be there for you, I’m going to be dad, I’m going to walk alongside you in this pregnancy. We tell them you don’t have to promise to marry him, but that would be great. But just that you’re going to be there and I’ll support them and be there throughout the pregnancy and for this child. And that’s what Danny did and he’s speaking up about that and how important it is so it’s Danny’s story on our Pro Love Tucson YouTube channel, and it’s getting a lots and lots of hits and we’re excited because it’s a testimony, a testimony of speaking up for life.

Jacob Barr :

Wow so i’ve been on the sidewalk several times, but I’ve only shadowed your group once and I got to say it was phenomenal like, i think you actually connected with FIF 15 out of 16 cars, and that might have been a high number, but that’s what I remember seeing i think there’s only one car, and it was very intentional about speeding right past and people walking up. I observed your group using strategic ideas to essentially stand near every entrance to the Planned Parenthood using body language and a gesture with a gift bag in hand and walking boldly. And then the cars would slow down and roll down their window and let you have a conversation and So what are your like what are you, what are your thoughts on how all this works because I mean, I felt like when I was observing that you were very, you know, orchestrated or very organized and the results seem to reflect that you had the opportunity to share information materials. What are your thoughts on sidewalk counseling when it comes to this pro love approach?

Lucy Smith :

Yes, thank you Jacob. That was a nice Councilman. And it’s not always that way, of course but yeah, so we are trained sidewalk advocates, and I think you see two different kinds of people, maybe three, around an abortion facility some come simply to pray how it been through training on how to engage with the clients that are humming. Maybe they’re holding signs, praying the rosary, praying and sometimes reaching out but and then there’s the train sidewalk advocates, as pro love Tucson and other nations nationwide, organizations put people through training to help them have the language to speak out to those specifically that are facing an unexpected pregnancy they’re struggling with fear and maybe some shame and the unknown on how best to reach out to them. And we are very strategic and there’s two abortion facilities currently in Tucson. And we feel very strongly that if we can keep the client from actually even going into the parking lot, we have more success was getting them to consider going elsewhere or not even going in at all, going to one of the pregnancy help centers that’s close by getting resources into their hands. Yes, we do use a bright colored gift bag right now we got Christmas gift bags. We have the notorious. Hey, could I talk to you for just a minute you know, and as you said, walking up to the car and assuming that they’re going to stop, you know, so our sidewalk advocates have gone through our training. They shadow for a while until they feel comfortable. We are ride on a wave of prayer. We have a huge prayer list it’s almost 300 people that receive our prayer email every single week that has a recap. The clients that we’ve dialogued with the week before, just using first initials and asking for prayer for them, especially those that are making that pregnancy decision right this week, and then asking the to pray, telling them when we’re going to be there in the next week and then our team that’s going to be there shares a prayer text. And we pray before we pray during we pray after we’re there on the sidewalk we pray for every client that’s going in, asking God for favor, asking for open eyes to see the truth of their preciousness of their life as well as any preborn baby’s life. So it’s a combination, you know, really, Holy Spirit LED God’s favor, preparation, resources at our fingertips we have a great team of a couple women that put together our gift bags they pray over every gift bag we have, the one that we just kind of get in the window if we can possibly stop them in the driveway, not really knowing maybe what they’re there for, but just some resources and some gifts. And then we have some gift bags that are appropriate for different clients, Planned Parenthood of course clients may be coming for pregnancy services, but also birth control, STI testing, transgender services we have a wonderful pastor that’s willing to counsel those and that’s our resource for those type of clients. Well, woman shack up occasionally some cancer related type of things, but we have referrals for everything that they would be coming there for. And then choices is the other abortion facility and they simply do the abortion pill. So we’re hitting hard on getting a free ultrasound next door, but so the abortion pill reversal. So if they take that first pill, it’s not too late. And we have testimonies of women right here in Tucson that have taken the first abortion pills they’re at Choices Women’s Center, how to change a heart their babies safe and healthy and they’re fine. And then of course heartbeats for the thousand Mamas that took the first of the abortion pills, didn’t take the second one, got the high dose of progesterone and their babies are safe and healthy. So handing out that Abortion pill reversal hotline card, telling everybody that about that, so that they would have that knowledge in case they do follow through and take that first pill.

Jacob Barr :

Wow so yeah so instead of having just like one gift bag, it’s you have like 1 per scenario and you’re somehow you’re trying to decipher very quickly as to the intent that someone has so that you can provide them with something that’s even more relevant than just like a general, you know, one size fits all gift bag you’re trying to use one for, you know this scenario versus that scenario and trying to pick up on subtle hints as to you know where someone’s coming from and why they’re you know, where they’re going. Which makes yeah, like that’s just really smart to trying to figure out. Figure out those hints and those signs for what you know, for why they might be coming in today.

Lucy Smith :

Yes. So I’ll just identify the different gap bags because I didn’t get to do that Jacob. So besides the pregnancy type of gift bag, we call for undecided so it’s for a female client that’s making a pregnancy decision, but then we have one for the father of the baby so any man that’s there with her might be the boyfriend, but it might be her dad and dad. Grandpa friend we hear a lot of friends that are bringing friends to the abortion facility. I’m just a friend, you know, but it’s that gift bag that encourages again him to step up and be a support and a dad or a male figure that’ll walk alongside her, that we have a birth control gift bag. It does give a referral to another place if the young lady wants the hormonal birth control but it does have referrals for Napro Natural Family Planning and maybe even get a dialogue going with her about that and how that works best in a committed relationship. And then maybe even going to sexual integrity dialogue if we could possibly even do that because something young ladies haven’t heard that and know that you know it’s best to wait until you’re buried in a committed relationship and really see if he loves you enough to continue a relationship without the sex part. And so we have a flyer in there that talks about sexual integrity as well. And all of our gift bags do have referrals to the pregnancy help center and the abortion Pill reversal hotline card, because we know a lot of people don’t tell us the truth. They’re at the sidewalk and then we have two other gift bags one is abortion Recovery. So that’s specifically for someone that we see coming out the back door after a surgical abortion we know they’ve had an abortion that day. Someone’s picking them up. We try and give that to them at the back driveway with a teddy bear we tell them we love them, Jesus still loves them we’re here for them, offer to pray with them, and we have had people take us up on that. Oftentimes she’s throwing up or just slumped down in the sea, crying, just continuing to love on them no matter what, and offering down the recovery services that are here available in Tucson, whether it’s the retreat or the counseling. And then we have a clinic worker give it back. We don’t give it those out very often because I’m sure the clinic workers, as we’ve been told by Myra Rodriguez and Abby Johnson, they’re told not to talk with us, but we’ve got one and it has referrals to, and then there were none abby Johnson’s ministry. We call out abortionorchard.com We call out that we’re here for them too, that we’re praying that God would bless their day we’re careful not to just say we’re praying for them because we know sometimes they think, you know, we’re praying for them to go to hell or something, you know, trying to be specific with our prayers as we call out to them we wave, we smile. We try and get to know them a little bit we know all they’re being hold. Some will respond with a nod or wave, but very rarely will they come over. Most of the time we’re able to give a clinic worker back to an intern. So they’re new they’re not they don’t know they’re not supposed to talk to us or someone that’s dropping off a worker. Maybe they’ll take the gift bag and we give them the unplanned movie DVD to watch also, hey, here’s a movie about a Planned Parenthood worker. Take this and pop it in we also hand that out to clients that are considering an abortion, specifically abortion canal. We really want you to watch this first before you make that decision because there is a segment in that movie that shows the aftermath of taking that second abortion pill. And we want you to know what’s going to happen to you we care about you as the woman, what’s going to happen to you. And so you go in with your eyes wide open. And so we hand the unplanned DVD movies out at the sidewalk, either a clinic worker or someone that might be considering an abortion. So those are our gift bags.

Jacob Barr :

Hey, can you tell me more about the prayer over each bag? Like, is it an individual prayer or do you pray over like, you know, a box of bags? What does that look like to pray over the bags?

Lucy Smith :

So our two women volunteers, part of our team, they don’t come to the sidewalk. They are gift bag team. They pray as they’re putting the items in the gift bag so Elaine has an assembly line when she’s putting together the undecided bags for pregnant clients and as she’s putting those items in there and then sealing it and putting our pro love sticker on it, praying over the client that will receive that bag.

Jacob Barr :

Now then, So what are your thoughts on signage versus you know, having the message in the gift bag like how would you correlate your thoughts on signage and then maybe having less signage in order to, you know, give someone more content in a bag. What are your thoughts on that?

Lucy Smith :

You know, we’ve gone around the circle of that Carrie started and had signs when she first started then we stopped using signs all together for quite a while. So often people that are on the sidewalk are accused of being protesters, right? And so we want to not be fulfilling that accusation of being a protester and often protesters have signs. So for a long time we didn’t have any signs. We had clients actually tell us if you had a sign, I wouldn’t have talked to you so. And there are so many kind signs we love the 40 days for Life signs that a lot of people use in those two prayer vigil seasons. A lot of clients will, or excuse me, prayer warriors will stand across the street and sit with their signs, their kind signs of course, we never would want to have anything that would show graphic images or be shaming other woman. If someone does come with that, we definitely separate ourselves from those. We know that clients that are in a difficult situation are not going to respond positively to that and our goal is to engage with them and show them the love of Jesus, give them referrals, find out what they need and meet those needs. And we’re not going to do that if we’re shaming them or scaring them or whatever. So our commitment as pro love is we don’t ever hold signs so again, try not to be a protester holding a sign we hold a gift bag and we have a smile. We do, we have started to put a couple signs out a little bit away but on the sidewalk just to let people know we are offering referral for free ultrasound that’s very attractive to clients that are coming for pregnancy services. And one about asking about the abortion pill reversal because we know the abortion pill method of abortion has just skyrocketed. And I think the statistic now, and you probably know better than I do, Jacob, about 70 % of abortions now are the chemical abortion, the abortion causing drugs. And so just educating people as they’re driving by or driving in or somehow, oh wow, there’s a there’s a reversal for an abortion you know what is that? So we do have those signs occasion we’ll have a sign on our tables we put a display table out and we will help you know that kind sign. So we we’ve experimented with that. Choices Women’s Center now has both on their website and their voicemail message do not stop for the protesters warning people not to do that so we are not mere signs they are at all we just are standing at the driveway with a gift bag because we want them to have every chance to see that we are someone friendly kind. Our approach is grace filled and not see us as being accused of being a protester, Yeah.

Jacob Barr :

And I think the signs are usually, yeah, definitely marked as you know, majority of the signs, not all of them are majority of them are tied to protesting or meant for people that are driving by and then I think the gift bags communicate so much better to someone who’s looking to park because then you’re giving them something to look at with a much higher word count, and it’s more targeted to their situation. And it’s something that they could bring with them if they do continue, which very often they have, if they continue into the Planned Parenthood waiting room, then they’re able to open up that gift bag and go through it while they’re waiting. And so that message gets to continue even. Yeah, past that past the door, door frame. Where do you think graphic signs might be OK to use like for example would you think that might be OK on a college campus where with a warning sign coming 1st and then because the idea that we’re trying to you know and like an educational kind of let’s say like on the mall of a of a university very often there’s educational events and having like an open dialogue about the horrors slash truth of abortion. I think that’s very different and maybe more appropriate than right there when someone is when a when a when a woman is looking to get an abortion her logical state might be well limited because she’s very emotional she’s got a lot of stress anxiety and she made that and essentially those very graphic images might mark the people on the sidewalk as the opposition, the enemy, more so than being marked as like a friend. And so I think that I think that’s something to consider when it comes to picking out imagery and sign is that we wanted to be looked at as friendly and inviting more so than being marked as hateful and unreachable or you know, or distanced or something.

Lucy Smith :

I agree totally, Jacob and I do see that they do have value in an educational setting. We’ve even dotted, logged with the Students for Life group here at the U of A I’ve gone and spoken with them and always remind them that there’s a difference between someone that is in an unexpected pregnancy and how you approach them and others that are not in that situation right now, but to be very sensitive to that. So yes, in an educational setting we do we want to educate people about the awfulness of abortion and what’s happening not only to the woman but also to the baby, but with those warnings. And so with us pro love and we’re always outside in the abortion facilities, that’s our home. And so that’s what be our target would always be someone that either is experiencing an unexpected pregnancy or has in the past you know, the Passer Byers that have had abortions in the past will stop. And even you know, sometimes they’re angry or sometimes they’re just grateful that we’re there for the women now that are going through that. We do have some on our team that have had an abortion in their past and they’re able to share that and testify about what harm it has caused them throughout their life for 40 years or whatever and that they’re still struggling with it. So we as a ministry are just very sensitive to those that are either in that unexpected pregnancy situation or have been in the past and want to target them with our grace field approach but of course other places and educational settings have other needs.

Jacob Barr :

So with some states allowing abortion, in some states not allowing abortion. Yeah, in our current world, what does what does sidewalk counseling look like if abortion is not allowed in that state? And maybe it looks like, you know, there still might be a Planned Parenthood there might be a place to referrals. Have you ever thought about like, what’s that look like for people that are in, let’s say, Texas, where they’re where abortion is not allowed because of the six week rule? Or maybe in other states where they’re most abortion clinics aren’t there but they’re in the neighboring areas and they’re still women are driving what do you think it might look like for someone to try and engage with women when they’re made? Well, they may have to travel a long ways to go to the nearest abortion clinic and maybe that just means the sidewalk counseling takes place at the nearest clinic abortion clinic that is focusing on delivering those abortion type of services perhaps.

Lucy Smith :

Right and in Arizona, we did have that for just a little while after Roe was ever returned so Arizona has been like this with the law and the judges and so we did have that for just a couple weeks. And so we were engaging with women that were saying, man, I’m going to have to travel out of state for this it’s so expensive and so we would talk with them about the danger of traveling after a surgical abortion or even after a chemical abortion and continue to just talk about how dangers the risks of abortion for women and we have special handout about that and again the abortion pill reversal, the hotline that you can contact no matter what state you’re in, if you do go ahead and travel and take that abortion causing pill. So we’re doing a lot of educating. A lot of women choose abortion because of finances we continue to refer to help for that let them live. Great nationwide organization that will come alongside a woman that’s making an abortion decision based on finances. And then we’re talking about this Embrace Grace group that we have now we’ll walk alongside you as a single pregnant woman and you can fellowship with other single pregnant young ladies. We’ll bring you in and meet for 12 weeks and we’ll throw you a baby shower at the end or a celebration of life if you make a plan for adoption. So we were just trying to just be so encouraging and we did have women say both on the sidewalk and at the pregnancy health centers. Well, I guess I can’t travel out of state, so I’m going to have this baby, you know. And so we were seeing that and we know that they were referring, our Planned Parenthood is referring to El Centro or Las Cruces, new mexico, the closest abortion facilities across state lines. So we’re just continuing to give out you know, resources that would be applicable no matter what state they’re in so hotline numbers and then the education about the risks of abortion and emphasizing it’s dangerous to travel after having an abortion or after you’ve taken that first pill and there you are on the road or whatever so yeah, it is different. And as you well know, Jacob, even in states like Arizona where we do have the pro-life law that you’re not allowed to mail in the abortion pill to an Arizona address. We know that people are still doing that, especially from countries, other countries that are not going to be our Arizona law that women might be able to contact that via telehealth. And how dangerous, that women are taking those abortion pills without actually knowing maybe how far along they are, whether they have an ectopic pregnancy, whether they’re already anemic. You know they’re it’s asking for abuse to happen from those that can force a woman to take those abortion causing drugs. But we do know that there is availability of that to even to be mailed into Arizona so education right, is just key that everybody would know the risks of abortion and then the possibility that abortion pill reversal, it’s our, it’s our mantra. Abortion hurts women. You know, we care so much about women. Yes, we care about babies but our theme is that if someone thrives during and after an unexpected pregnancy, the baby’s going to thrive so we’re reaching out to that woman with love and grace and help, resources, tangible help and then we’re talking to those that have more of the pro-choice opinion you know, well, it’s a woman’s choice. And we know that oftentimes they’re coming from that viewpoint of they care about women too that’s why they’re saying, well, if it’s a really difficult situation, she’s in poverty or the guy left or she was raped or whatever, let’s give her that opportunity to abort her baby we say, you know what we care about women too. And abortion hurts women. So let’s partner together and help her not choose that where it’s going to hurt her physically right now and maybe physically down the road with the chance of infertility, all those risk factors of abortion psychologically, emotionally down the road. So let’s partner together because her abortion does hurt women, and let’s help women.

Jacob Barr :

Bang, bang. So when it comes to being on the sidewalk and yeah, what what’s been your experience with people who have who have been like a counter effort? Like, you know, people who are there that are pro-choice and they might show up or also, I guess you did mention that some people will come by either upset or thankful for what you’re doing. But how do you normally respond when someone engages on the sidewalk and they’re looking to disrupt the efforts of helping the women who are coming in for this terrible decision?

Lucy Smith :

And how, Yeah, that’s part of our training is that we are there for the clients 1st and often times people will either purposefully or not purposefully try and steer our attention away from the clients but we are trained to focus on the clients, even if it’s a friendly person, you know, pulling up to the sidewalk outside curb and saying thanks for being here or whenever. Our focus is still on the clients and the driveway and the parking lot. And we also are trained and have in our agreement that we will not get angry no matter how hateful someone is and we’ve had hateful how many gestures, how many foul words, how many cameras in your space? You will not get angry. And that may mean you may have to leave and go sit in your car, but we will not as pro love Tucson, ever get angry. Because that kind of ruins our testimony, right and our name is pro love so we’re going to love even when someone is really our enemy, but we’re going to stay calm. We’re going to ignore, we’re going to ask for help if we need help if there’s a gentleman on the sidewalk with us or even across the street, praying, I’ll invite him over to help us as women sidewalk advocates, because sometimes men are really aggressive toward women and think that they can bully us. And so I’ll ask the praying pastor that is there to come and get between me and this angry person. We have had to do that i’ve called the police numerous times sometimes they come right away, sometimes they come later. But we filed reports on people that have been noticeably hateful and angry. We had one woman which we did call the police, but another client actually received a gift bag at the driveway and was very appreciative she pulled in and then she heard this woman being very angry and hateful and foul mouthed to us and she engaged with that woman and said hey, leave them alone they are here to help. And then they engaged, you know, and Planned Parenthood actually was in agreement that we call the police and have that woman leave because it wasn’t good for their reputation either to have this foul mouthed woman slamming other clients as well as the friendly people on the sidewalk so yeah, we have determined to just continue to focus on the clients and you know, if it’s not busy and someone’s there and wants to, you know, share their story, that’s great or if not, hey, go to our website and Share your story, one of our social media pages. But we’re here for the clients and we’re going to focus on them and even just keep praying for them while they’re inside you know, there’s a battle going on in there and we want to continue to be those Watchmen on the wall praying, interceding on behalf of those women. No one else is allowed to go in with the woman ever since COVID. So that was one big thing about COVID. So only the client is allowed inside, at least at Planned Parenthood and so everyone that’s waiting for them is waiting in their car in the parking lot, which gives us more opportunity to talk with people. But she’s inside by herself, seeing the image of the ultrasound, maybe not hearing the heartbeat or not getting the information, making that decision on her own, maybe being pressured we don’t know what their tactics are for sure inside our southern Arizona Planned Parenthood. But she’s inside by herself and that’s definitely a strategy of theirs and that’s another thing we say is come on out and you know your boyfriend he can go with you inside the pregnancy Health Center, see the image of your baby hear the heartbeat you guys can make this decision by yourself. I mean together instead of by yourself. You can take your mom with you can take your Tia with you know, someone can go with you to this pregnancy center you can take your kids in there. So many times women will come with their children to Planned Parenthood and turn right around and come out and say they won’t let my children in there. Yeah, no, they don’t want any cute kids in there.

Jacob Barr :

Wow what I’m hearing is that it sounds like you are very flexible using intelligence and wisdom to essentially you know essentially based on like these values or principles to essentially be able to navigate anything that’s thrown at your group by essentially being prepared based on like a foundation because you can’t really predict all these situations beforehand, but you can at least have like a solid foundation, have several situations pre prepared but yeah, it sounds like mostly, you know, sort of navigating based on based on a solid foundation when it comes to scripture. Like what bible scripture seems to really help you understand how to love the opposition or love someone who’s angry you’re loving your enemy. Which scripture seems to help, sort of helps you navigate that, you know, very well. Difficult way of loving.

Lucy Smith :

I think probably our Galatians 5 verses the fruit of the Spirit. You know, we just invite Holy Spirit to have his way in US and then ask that fruit come out you know, the love, the peace, the patience, the kindness all in that to come out of us even in a difficult situation. And we do pray for people that are hateful, you know, May God bless your day. They’re flipping. You off you know and we try not to engage too much because we know that makes them more angry oftentimes. But I would say Holy Spirit through the spirit asking for that fresh anointing every day filling us and of course we always put on the armor of God. Coming to the sidewalk is so important, and I love that passage that’s in the passion translation is oftentimes what I use because it talks about your wrap around shield of faith. And so I think about that shield going all the way around me while I’m on the sidewalk because the fiery darts are going to come from all different directions, whether it’s a passerby or a client or a client’s boyfriend or simply the enemy, right, That have that wrapped around the shield, around me and then I don’t need to fear. And greater is he who is in me, then he is in the world, and that we are there because cops called us there again, we’re at the place where innocent lies are being taken, and we’re there to stand in the gap for especially the voiceless, the unborn, the preborn maybes, but also for their parents. And so those would be some of the passages that, you know, just swirl around in my head when we’re having our God time in the mornings before we come to the sidewalk, and then we share the Scripture. There’s always a lead for the team that day, and she’ll share a scripture and a prayer, and we go back and forth the attacks before we even come out to the sidewalk.

Jacob Barr :

Then that’s really good. I also really like the yeah, the shield. Often my experience with The Shield is that when someone puts up the shield of Jesus’s faith it will overlap. You know the one person who is wearing that piece of armor and it covers the people next to them. Like I feel like there’s yeah like it’s a it’s a it’s big enough and I like the wrap around idea for covering all the darts. But i think it’s got it has like coverage for people next to you because that’s been you have several people with their Shields up. It provides coverage to those who are next to them, I think as well, because I guess that’s been how I I’ve experienced the shield of faith is that it has more coverage in the one person behind the shield.

Lucy Smith :

Yeah, I like that a lot and so we are unified as a team we do make an effort not to gang up on clients so we usually don’t stand close to each other as you mentioned, we’re at driveways, but a lot of times someone will come in the dry wind without talking to us so one of us will walk over and approach being close to the car and greet them, and then the other sidewalk advocates will stand away or someone that’s shadowing that day will stand away and be praying. But we know people are talking about sensitive issues, you know, and they don’t want a gang of people listening in. You know, you’re talking about pregnancy, you’re talking about STIs you’re talking about sex. You know, health, they’re coming for all sorts of things and so we’re very conscious of giving them their privacy and not invading that and then engaging with them and then try and maybe engage with them on the way out, the same person, if they’re available, engage again because we’ve already built a little bit of a rapport. Hey, just want to make sure you’ve got all the resources you need today. Would such and such and such and such and such and such be of help to you which would be most helpful to you try and use open-ended questions to get them to engage even on their way out, if they have gone ahead and gone in. We’re seeing Planned Parenthood not seeing as many clients, praise God right now. I think it’s partly because there’s less surgical abortions. It might be that they’re scheduling on other days and pro Love’s not there. We’ve talked a little bit about the other side and escorts are part of the other side and that they’re the volunteers from Planned Parenthood that stand in the parking lot blocking the clients from hearing the sidewalk advocates and their offers of help and hope. And they’re there on a couple of other mornings and so they may be scheduling more abortion minded clients then i don’t know. Planned Parenthood is always changing their schedule choices is changing their schedule. We’re trying to be flexible and yet consistent with always being there to offer hope and help. We’re there every week of the year.

Jacob Barr :

Yeah. So when it comes to different precy clinics in, well in our in Tucson, in our situation, I think there’s about 3 or 4 preacy clinics in Tucson. And do you do you usually just refer them to the closest one or I’m wondering if you knew which side of town they lived on, you might give them a referral based on which one might be exposed to where they live or where they’re going?

Lucy Smith :

Sure. In Tucson, praise God, there is a pregnancy help center close enough to walk to from both the abortion facilities that’s definitely God. So immediately we try and get them to go there because they’re already right here. We can walk them 200 Staffs to hands of hope or hands Hope is in the same complex as choices, so we’re pointing right here. So we do refer there most often because of them being close and if we can redirect them right away, great. Or they get over there and at least make an appointment for an ultrasound another day that might be a little bit for their long and their pregnancy or more appropriate, but we do have a sexual health resource list that has the four pregnancy centers in Tucson listed on it all their hours, their locations, their website, their QR code. And oftentimes we will find out, you know, maybe they’re closer than one of those other ones we can call them for them and say, hey, I’m sending this client over, you know, maybe something about them there are carry they’re abortion minded, their abortion intent. They’re Danny is coming with them, their Spanish speakers, whatever, we can tell the receptionist and send them over and then they can look on that handout and see where the other locations are. Answers for Life has now a Southside clinic and a north clinic that’s open at least one day a week so if someone’s a little further away, they can go there. So yeah, we’re referring to any of the pregnancy help centers, but the one that’s close by it makes the logical sense and we really share the same grace filled approach.

Jacob Barr :

Yeah so in the back of my mind, I’m trying to imagine, let’s say someone’s there’s someone traveling from the heart of Texas to let’s say New Mexico because that’s maybe that’s the nearest abortion clinic to where they happen to be. And let’s, I mean I’m also imagining, so let’s yeah, there’s a sidewalk group let’s say at the Planned Parenthood there in New Mexico and then they might drive traffic to the local New Mexico pricey clinic. But it would make a lot of sense for the people in the heart of Texas, that pricey clinic in Texas, to be connected with the pricey clinic in New Mexico in order to, you know, to have a baton handoff. Because when that client goes back to the city in the middle of Texas, so they’re going to be closer to additional care and counseling and support services. And so I feel like for groups who are in these states where abortion is not allowed and people are traveling out of state to the nearest state where abortion is allowed, it’d be really important for them to connect with the pricey clinic the closest to the you know, essentially getting referrals from the sidewalk advocates in order to be able to hand off, have that client referral baton experience, being able to provide services because that New Mexico clinic’s going to get well busy and it doesn’t really have the bandwidth to be able to service someone who lives six hours away, the same way that a clinic, yeah, could service that person be 3540 minutes away.

Lucy Smith :

Exactly. Really optimal, you know and even having option line or you know one of those resources that as nationwide hotline that can put them in touch with their zip code and which one’s pregnancy center is going to be the closest to them? absolutely.

Jacob Barr :

Awesome well, so thank you so much for being on this podcast and just for sharing your this wealth of information and actually, before we How many do you know how many pro love groups exist or roughly you know how long pro love has been around or what’s the history from what you understand of pro love?

Lucy Smith :

We are our own grassroots ministry, so we started here in Tucson we are the only pro love tucson abby Johnson’s ministry is pro love by itself just pro love we’re pro hyphen love Tucson. But we started here in Tucson almost six years ago and Carrie, who started it, does have pro lovenation.com and that she’ll be willing to help groups with the gift bag ideas, maybe a T-shirt some of our grace filled approach strategies. But we are just simply a Tucson ministry. Pro love Tucson. Yeah, I did.

Jacob Barr :

Yeah, I was i was under the impression that you were tired of the Abby Johnson pro Love group it sounds like you’re more like a yeah, a separate. Ok, a separate effort. So if someone did want to start a pro love in their city, that it sounds like you’re interested and willing to help them. Yeah create the. You know. Yeah essentially, follow in the footsteps and sharing all of your wisdom that you’ve collected through all of this experience.

Lucy Smith :

Yeah so carrie, who started that she is a young mom, so she does have pro lovenation.com and she would be willing to help people get started, have know how to get the resources, do some advising. So she would be the one to contact of course we’re busy just doing this here in Tucson and then we’ve added Embrace Grace trying to encourage churches to start Embrace Grace groups and Roberta and I are offering to help Co lead those groups since we’ve gone through one Embrace Grace session so far at our partner church Calvary Tucson and walked alongside 4 women who had all been abortion minded but chose life one of when we met outside of Planned Parenthood. She was one of those moms that’s carrying her BB on her hip and goes in to schedule an abortion And they say you can’t stay here with your baby and she got mad and you’re like this Planned Parenthood and you won’t even let me have my BB in here and she came out and we talked with her and she chose life and we gave her a lot locks like the box that I showed behind me and she’s in our Embrace Grace group and blessed her with a baby shower just a couple weeks ago so we walked along 4 Mamas who’ve had their babies, two are still expecting and then we’re helping other churches. We’re hoping to get some around different sides of town so it’ll be closer for girls that are choosing life. War girls are choosing life you know the law is confusing. Roe versus Wade was overturned they think well maybe it’s not the greatest thing you know and they’re seeing the encouragement that’s available for them and social media is encouraging live action does amazing things. We have our social media and gal that does posts a lot of encouraging posts and we have testimonies like Danny’s testimony, Danny’s story that’s encouraging more and more people to go ahead and continue their pregnancy and know that they have support.

Jacob Barr :

Awesome would you? Would you close our podcast in our prayer and with the expectation that those who are listening could join you in praying for this ministry and this work? And yeah, just yeah, however you might you invite those who are listening to pray along with you would you go ahead and yeah, wrap this up in our prayer, please.

Lucy Smith :

Sure thanks, Jacob. So Daddy, God, we thank you and praise you for who you are and especially that you are our father and you are the one that have put us into families it’s your plan it’s your idea to have fathers and mothers and children. And even right now in this season, we’re constantly referring to you, Lord Jesus, coming as a preborn baby, our Savior from the moment of conception and talking with young ladies that are in that pregnancy situation about how Jesus came as a preborn baby innocent and helpless and needing the protection of his mom, Lord so help us to continue to do that and then speak to dads to be more like Joseph, that he protected Mary and you, Lord Jesus, just step up and even in an unexpected, difficult situation, he was willing to be the protector God, as you have made men to be. I think you appraise you that you are working in the hearts and minds of those that are finding themselves in this unexpected, unplanned pregnancy situation. That impre would open their eyes to the preciousness of their life and the gift of life as well as the preciousness of every human life from that moment of conception. Lord open their eyes to the truth god removes the blinders, expose the lies of the enemy we ask in Jesus name. Lord, I ask for more workers to be sent into this harvest you are the Lord of the harvest. I know we here at Tucson need more people that are willing to stand in the gap for those that are in this crisis pregnancy situation god that have the boldness and Holy Spirit leading and the physical wherewithal to be able to stand on a concrete sidewalk and all sorts of weather, talking with strangers about your love, your grace, your hope, your provision. Lord so we ask that you would send more workers to our field as well as those other abortion facilities throughout our country, throughout the world. God that more people would be willing to stand in the gap Lord and offer the hope help that you have to offer those no matter what the circumstances of concession, even in those rare cases of rape or incest. We know that abortion hurts women. And we know for personal experiences both from our team and from clients that choosing life even in that difficult situation is so much a better path, a healthy path, a joyful path. Then choosing another trauma, God to help us to have those people that would be willing to come alongside, whether it’s actually getting trained as a sidewalk advocate. Being the prayer support there across the street, bringing a prayer partner, being a financial supporter of all these ministries that all of us need the finances to continue to provide the gift bags, the fetal model babies, the signs, just the training, the website to be able to communicate these pro-life pro grace messages god. So we pray you’ll bring more workers, more support, Lord, because you are the God of the harvest you do on the cattle on a thousand hills, and you are our provider. We come to you humbly and ask that you would continue to guide and direct these pro-life Ministries and including this podcast that Jacob has invited us to. Lord, you continue to provide for you to continue to just get the word out to those that may think that they’re pro-choice but that they actually recognize that no, I’m for women, I’m for babies, I’m for life and be willing to then stand up for life. God so I thank you, pray you would bless Jacob, that you would bless these ministries that are even are listening today god, they’re pregnancy health centers. We are so grateful for them here in Tucson that the way that they serve men and women faithfully day in and day out without any charge, any expense the mobile medical units that travel around town to make it accessible for ultrasounds so that more and more women will actually see the image of their baby, hear the heartbeat, know this humanness of their pre born baby daddies will be able to visualize and see that baby and say I’m going to be there for you, we’re going to walk this walk together. God is draw more and more people to light Lord until abortion is actually unthinkable in our state, in our country, in our world. Lord, we thank you and praise you that you, Lord Jesus, are the one that came fully Shulen, yet fully God, to show us the way, and that you love us because we are made in your image and that you promise to be inside us by the power of your Holy Spirit. And we pray for that guidance, that wisdom, that discernment, that boldness, that love, that fruit of the Spirit love, and that we would be able to show that to all that you bring across our paths. Lord as we continue to speak out for life and just the joy of this Christmas season also, Lord, so we thank you and praise you and it’s in your powerful name, Jesus, we pray amen.

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